Cycle time of an online community
I have taken part in many online communities over the years and I have noticed that no matter what, there are certain cycles that tend to happen. There have been articles written about how sites such as Reddit or Digg change longitudinally over time, but one thing that I’m most interested in is the steady-state ‘cycle time’ of the community.
I would loosely define the cycle time as the length of time it takes a new member of a community to be fully exposed to the range of content and activity that will likely ever occur in the community. Inevitably at some point the new user will start to see mostly repeat topics.
I can go back to some of the music production forums that I was on nearly ten years ago and find people asking the same questions. When I was active in the community though, some things cycled very quickly and other things took a really long time to fully cycle. It was not even apparent to me at the time that I had fully cycled through the community experience. Looking back it seems more obvious though.
I’m not sure how to expand on this idea yet, so I will leave this post as-is. Hopefully I’ll revisit this one though.